HOAX: ‘US Senator’ Richard Black calls Duterte a ‘druglord’

HOAX: ‘US Senator’ Richard Black calls Duterte a ‘druglord’
(UPDATED) In the embedded interview video, the Virginia State Senator did not mention this term


Claim: “US Senator” Richard Black* supposedly criticized Filipinos for electing President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he called a “very powerful druglord.”

Facebook user Paul John posted the claim to group “Freedom Wall (original)” on November 8.

The full quote, as placed in a meme graphic with a picture of Senator Black, reads:

The 16M voters of the Philippines elected Rodrigo Duterte since they wanted drugs. They gave it to them. They have chosen a very powerful Druglord.

The graphic in the post was accompanied by a caption that says, “Kahit AMERIKANO alam kung sino ang DRUGLORD.” (Even the Americans know who the druglord is.)

The post garnered at least 174 reactions, 22 comments, and 2,251 shares.

Readers have sent this claim to Rappler for verification.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: There is no such quote from Black.

Also, Black is a Virginia State Senator, and not a US Senator as stated in the meme.

The claim twisted what Black actually said in an interview with LaRouchePAC, a political movement inspired by American activist Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche Jr., on November 4, 2016. The interview is entitled, “Duterte’s Philippines: An Ally of the New Paradigm.”

The closest statement to the supposed quote is when the senator, a retired army colonel and former chief of the Criminal Law Division under the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, recalled how Duterte came into power and the effect of drugs in the Philippines.

At the 4:29 mark, Black says, “The people of the Philippines elected President Duterte by a tremendous margin and they wanted law and order and he gave it to them. […] Consequently, to rule the Philippines, you have to rule with a very firm hand and that is what the Filipino people have chosen, to have a very strong ruler. ”

In the 19-minute interview, Black never mentioned the word, “druglord.” He, however, called Duterte “ruthless,” referring to the president’s term as Davao City’s mayor.

Aside from this interview, there are no reports from credible news organizations of an occasion where Black said the quote.

Meanwhile, the photo used in the meme is from the Associated Press showing Black during a 2016 debate during a session at the Capitol in Virginia.

The meme also contains a “stamp” featuring Emily Padilla, former Interior undersecretary, now Agrarian Reform** undersecretary. Padilla’s official page once shared a meme featuring ex-US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and a supposed quote from her giving praise to Duterte. Rappler reported in a fact-check article in September that this Haley “quote” is a hoax.

A check on Paul John’s account only shows one public post in May 2013 which is him changing his profile picture. There is no additional information on his account. Miguel Imperial/Rappler.com

If you suspect a Facebook page, group, account, a website, or an article is spreading false information, let Rappler know by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

Editor’s Note:
*In a previous version of this story, we indicated that Richard Black is a senator from Virginia serving in the US Capitol. This has been corrected. Black is a senator of Virginia State.
**We also mistakenly said that Emily Padilla is agriculture undersecretary; she is agrarian reform undersecretary.

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